Transcription

1903THE WIND IN THE WILLOWSKenneth GrahameGrahame, Kenneth (1859-1932) - English essayist and writer of childrens’ books. Heworked on the staff of the Bank of England as a Secretary. The Wind in the Willows(1908) - A classic childrens’ fantasy featuring the characters of Mole, Water Rat, Mr.Toad and other small animals. This book grew out of a series of stories Grahame toldto his small son at bedtime. I

Table Of ContentsTHE RIVER BANK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .THE OPEN ROAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . .THE WILD WOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . .MR. BADGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DULCE DOMUM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .MR. TOAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN . . . . . . . .TOAD’S ADVENTURES. . . . . . . . . . . .WAYFARERS ALL . . . . . . . . . . . . . .THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF TOAD . . . . . .‘LIKE SUMMER TEMPESTS CAME HIS TEARS’ . . . .THE RETURN OF ULYSSES . . . . . . . . . . .31118253342495664748494

ITHE RIVER BANKTHE Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with abrush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes ofwhitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring wasmoving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even hisdark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was smallwonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ‘Bother!’ and ‘Oblow!’ and also ‘Hang springcleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without evenwaiting to put on his coat.Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep littletunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animalswhose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched andscrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched andscraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, ‘Up we go! Upwe go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himselfrolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.‘This is fine!’ he said to himself. ‘This is better than whitewashing!’ The sunshine struckhot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of thecellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearingalmost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and thedelight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till hereached the hedge on the further side.‘Hold up!’ said an elderly rabbit at the gap. ‘Sixpence for the privilege of passing by theprivate road!’ He was bowled over in an instant by the impatient and contemptuousMole, who trotted along the side of the hedge chaffing the other rabbits as they peepedhurriedly from their holes to see what the row was about.‘Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!’ he remarked jeeringly, and was gone before they couldthink of a thoroughly satisfactory reply. Then they all started grumbling at each other.‘How stupid you are! Why didn’t you tell him-’ ‘Well, why didn’t you say-’ ‘You mighthave reminded him-’ and so on, in the usual way; but, of course, it was then much toolate, as is always the case.It all seemed too good to be true. Hither and thither through the meadows he rambledbusily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building,flowers budding, leaves thrusting- everything happy, and progressive, and occupied.And instead of having an uneasy conscience pricking him and whispering ‘whitewash!’he somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be the only idle dog among all thesebusy citizens. After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be restingyourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along,suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river

before- this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping thingswith a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates thatshook themselves free, and were caught and held again.All was a-shake and a-shiver- glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatterand bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river hetrotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spell-boundby exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river stillchattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from theheart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.As he sat on the grass and looked across the river, a dark hole in the bank opposite, justabove the water’s edge, caught his eye, and dreamily he fell to considering what a nicesnug dwelling-place it would make for an animal with few wants and fond of a bijouriverside residence, above flood level and remote from noise and dust. As he gazed,something bright and small seemed to twinkle down in the heart of it, vanished, thentwinkled once more like a tiny star. But it could hardly be a star in such an unlikelysituation; and it was too glittering and small for a glow-worm. Then, as he looked, itwinked at him, and so declared itself to be an eye; and a small face began gradually togrow up round it, like a frame round a picture.A brown little face, with whiskers.A grave round face, with the same twinkle in its eye that had first attracted his notice.Small neat ears and thick silky hair.It was the Water Rat!Then the two animals stood and regarded each other cautiously.‘Hullo, Mole!’ said the Water Rat.‘Hullo, Rat!’ said the Mole.‘Would you like to come over?’ enquired the Rat presently.‘Oh, its all very well to talk,’ said the Mole, rather pettishly, he being new to a river andriverside life and its ways.The Rat said nothing, but stooped and unfastened a rope and hauled on it; then lightlystepped into a little boat which the Mole had not observed. It was painted blue outsideand white within, and was just the size for two animals; and the Mole’s whole heartwent out to it at once, even though he did not yet fully understand its uses.The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his forepaw as the Molestepped gingerly down. ‘Lean on that!’ he said. ‘Now then, step lively!’and the Mole to his surprise and rapture found himself actually seated in the stern of areal boat.‘This has been a wonderful day!’ said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the scullsagain. ‘Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat before in all my life.’ ‘What?’ cried theRat, open-mouthed: ‘Never been in a- you never- well Iwhat have you been doing,then?’ ‘Is it so nice as all that?’ asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared tobelieve it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks,and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.‘Nice? It’s the only thing,’ said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for hisstroke. ‘Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing- absolute nothinghalf so much

worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,’ he went on dreamily:‘messing- about- in- boats; messing-’ ‘Look ahead, Rat!’ cried the Mole suddenly.It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, layon his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.‘-about in boats- or with boats,’ the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with apleasant laugh. ‘In or out of ‘em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter,that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arriveat your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never getanywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; andwhen you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like,but you’d much better not. Look here! If you’ve really nothing else on hand thismorning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?’ TheMole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of fullcontentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. ‘What a day I’m having!’he said. ‘Let us start at once!’ ‘Hold hard a minute, then!’ said the Rat. He looped thepainter through a ring in his landing-stage, climbed up into his hole above, and after ashort interval reappeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon-basket.‘Shove that under your feet,’ he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into theboat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.‘What’s inside it?’ asked the Mole, wriggling with ingerbeerlemonadesodawater-’ ‘O stop, stop,’ cried theMole in ecstacies: ‘This is too much!’ ‘Do you really think so?’ enquired the Ratseriously. ‘It’s only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animalsare always telling me that I’m a mean beast and cut it very fine!’The Mole never heard a word he was saying. Absorbed in the new life he was enteringupon, intoxicated with the sparkle, the ripple, the scents and the sounds and thesunlight, he trailed a paw in the water and dreamed long waking dreams.The Water Rat, like the good little fellow he was, sculled steadily on and forebore todisturb him.‘I like your clothes awfully, old chap,’ he remarked after some half an hour or so hadpassed. ‘I’m going to get a black velvet smoking-suit myself some day, as soon as I canafford it.’ ‘I beg your pardon,’ said the Mole, pulling himself together with an effort.‘You must think me very rude; but all this is so new to me. So- this- is- a- River!’ ‘TheRiver,’ corrected the Rat.‘And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!’ ‘By it and with it and on it and init,’ said the Rat. ‘It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food anddrink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What ithasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing. Lord!the times we’ve had together! Whether in winter or summer, spring or autumn, it’salways got its fun and its excitements. When the floods are on in February, and mycellars and basement are brimming with drink that’s no good to me, and the brownwater runs by my best bedroom window; or again when it all drops away and shows

patches of mud that smells like plum-cake, and the rushes and weed clog the channels,and I can potter about dry shod over most of the bed of it and find fresh food to eat,and things careless people have dropped out of boats!’ ‘But isn’t it a bit dull at times?’the Mole ventured to ask. ‘Just you and the river, and no one else to pass a word with?’‘No one else to- well, I mustn’t be hard on you,’ said the Rat with forbearance. ‘You’renew to it, and of course you don’t know. The bank is so crowded nowadays that manypeople are moving away altogether: O no, it isn’t what it used to be, at all. Otters,kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wantingyou to do something- as if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to!’ ‘What liesover there?’ asked the Mole, waving a paw towards a background of woodland thatdarkly framed the water-meadows on one side of the river.‘That? O, that’s just the Wild Wood,’ said the Rat shortly. ‘We don’t go there verymuch, we river-bankers.’ ‘Aren’t they- aren’t they very nice people in there?’ said theMole, a trifle nervously.‘W-e-ll,’ replied the Rat, ‘let me see. The squirrels are all right. And the rabbits- some of‘em, but rabbits are a mixed lot. And then there’s Badger, of course.He lives right in the heart of it; wouldn’t live anywhere else, either, if you paid him todo it. Dear old Badger! Nobody interferes with him. They’d better not,’ he addedsignificantly.‘Why, who should interfere with him?’ asked the Mole.‘Well, of course- there- are others,’ explained the Rat in a hesitating sort of way.‘Weasels- and stoats- and foxes- and so on. They’re all right in a way- I’m very goodfriends with them- pass the time of day when we meet, and all that- but they break outsometimes, there’s no denying it, and then- well, you can’t really trust them, and that’sthe fact.’ The Mole knew well that it is quite against animal-etiquette to dwell onpossible trouble ahead, or even to allude to it; so he dropped the subject.‘And beyond the Wild Wood again?’ he asked: ‘Where it’s all blue and dim, and onesees what may be hills or perhaps they mayn’t, and something like the smoke of towns,or is it only cloud-drift? ‘Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,’ said the Rat.‘And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or me. I’ve never been there,and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all. Don’t ever refer to itagain, please. Now then! Here’s our backwater at last, where we’re going to lunch.’Leaving the main stream, they now passed into what seemed at first sight like a littlelandlocked lake. Green turf sloped down to either edge, brown snaky treerootsgleamed below the surface of the quiet water, while ahead of them the silvery shoulderand foamy tumble of a weir, arm-in-arm with a restless dripping mill-wheel, that heldup in its turn a grey-gabled mill-house, filled the air with a soothing murmur of sound,dull and smothery, yet with little clear voices speaking up cheerfully out of it atintervals. It was so very beautiful that the Mole could only hold up both forepaws andgasp, ‘O my! O my! O my!’ The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, made her fast,helped the still awkward Mole safely ashore, and swung out the luncheon-basket. TheMole begged as a favour to be allowed to unpack it all by himself; and the Rat was verypleased to indulge him, and to sprawl at full length on the grass and rest, while hisexcited friend shook out the table-cloth and spread it, took out all the mysterious

packets one by one and arranged their contents in due order, still gasping, ‘O my! Omy!’ at each fresh revelation. When all was ready, the Rat said, ‘Now, pitch in, oldfellow!’ and the Mole was indeed very glad to obey, for he had started his springcleaning at a very early hour that morning, as people will do, and had not paused forbite or sup; and he had been through a very great deal since that distant time whichnow seemed so many days ago.‘What are you looking at?’ said the Rat presently, when the edge of their hunger wassomewhat dulled, and the Mole’s eyes were able to wander off the tablecloth a little.‘I am looking,’ said the Mole, ‘at a streak of bubbles that I see travelling along thesurface of the water. That is a thing that strikes me as funny.’ ‘Bubbles? Oho!’ said theRat, and chirruped cheerily in an inviting sort of way.A broad glistening muzzle showed itself above the edge of the bank, and the Otterhauled himself out and shook the water from his coat.‘Greedy beggars!’ he observed, making for the provender. ‘Why didn’t you invite me,Ratty?’ ‘This was an impromptu affair,’ explained the Rat. ‘By the way- my friend Mr.Mole.’ ‘Proud, I’m sure,’ said the Otter, and the two animals were friends forthwith.‘Such a rumpus everywhere!’ continued the Otter. ‘All the world seems out on the riverto-day. I came up this backwater to try and get a moment’s peace, and then stumbleupon you fellows!- At least- I beg pardon- I don’t exactly mean that, you know.’ Therewas a rustle behind them, proceeding from a hedge wherein last year’s leaves stillclung thick, and a stripy head, with high shoulders behind it, peered forth on them.‘Come on, old Badger!’ shouted the Rat.The Badger trotted forward a pace or two; then grunted, ‘H’m! Company,’ and turnedhis back and disappeared from view.‘That’s just the sort of fellow he is!’ observed the disappointed Rat. ‘Simply hatesSociety! Now we shan’t see any more of him to-day. Well, tell us, who’s out on theriver?’‘Toad’s out, for one,’ replied the Otter. ‘In his brand-new wager-boat; new togs, neweverything!’ The two animals looked at each other and laughed.‘Once, it was nothing but sailing,’ said the Rat. ‘Then he tired of that and took topunting. Nothing would please him but to punt all day and every day, and a nice messhe made of it. Last year it was house-boating, and we all had to go and stay with him inhis house-boat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend the rest of his life in ahouse-boat. It’s all the same, whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts onsomething fresh.’ ‘Such a good fellow, too,’ remarked the Otter reflectively: ‘But nostabilityespecially in a boat!’ From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the mainstream across the island that separated them; and just then a wager-boat flashed intoview, the rowera short, stout figure- splashing badly and rolling a good deal, butworking his hardest. The Rat stood up and hailed him, but Toad- for it was he- shookhis head and settled sternly to his work.‘He’ll be out of the boat in a minute if he rolls like that,’ said the Rat, sitting downagain.‘Of course he will,’ chuckled the Otter. ‘Did I ever tell you that good story about Toadand the lock-keeper? It happened this way. Toad.’

An errant May-fly swerved unsteadily athwart the current in the intoxicated fashionaffected by young bloods of May-flies seeing life. A swirl of water and a ‘cloop!’ andthe May-fly was visible no more.Neither was the Otter.The Mole looked down. The voice was still in his ears, but the turf whereon he hadsprawled was clearly vacant. Not an Otter to be seen, as far as the distant horizon.But again there was a streak of bubbles on the surface of the river.The Rat hummed a tune, and the Mole recollected that animal-etiquette forbade anysort of comment on the sudden disappearance of one’s friends at any moment, for anyreason or no reason whatever.‘Well, well,’ said the Rat, ‘I suppose we ought to be moving. I wonder which of us hadbetter pack the luncheon-basket?’ He did not speak as if he was frightfully eager for thetreat.‘O, please let me,’ said the Mole. So, of course, the Rat let him.Packing the basket was not quite such pleasant work as unpacking the basket.It never is. But the Mole was bent on enjoying everything, and although just when hehad got the basket packed and strapped up tightly he saw a plate staring up at himfrom the grass, and when the job had been done again the Rat pointed out a fork whichanybody ought to have seen, and last of all, behold! the mustard pot, which he hadbeen sitting on without knowing it- still, somehow, the thing got finished at last,without much loss of temper.The afternoon sun was getting low as the Rat sculled gently homewards in a dreamymood, murmuring poetry-things over to himself, and not paying much attention toMole. But the Mole was very full of lunch, and self-satisfaction, and pride, and alreadyquite at home in a boat (so he thought) and was getting a bit restless besides: andpresently he said, ‘Ratty! Please, I want to row, now!’ The Rat shook his head with asmile. ‘Not yet, my young friend,’ he said‘wait till you’ve had a few lessons. It’s not soeasy as it looks.’ The Mole was quiet for a minute or two. But he began to feel more andmore jealous of Rat, sculling so strongly and so easily along, and his pride began towhisper that he could do it every bit as well. He jumped up and seized the sculls, sosuddenly, that the Rat, who was gazing out over the water and saying more poetrythings to himself, was taken by surprise and fell backwards off his seat with his legs inthe air for the second time, while the triumphant Mole took his place and grabbed thesculls with entire confidence.‘Stop it, you silly ass!’ cried the Rat, from the bottom of the boat. ‘You can’t do it! You’llhave us over!’ The Mole flung his sculls back with a flourish, and made a great dig atthe water. He missed the surface altogether, his legs flew up above his head, and hefound himself lying on the top of the prostrate Rat. Greatly alarmed, he made a grab atthe side of the boat, and the next moment- Sploosh!Over went the boat, and he found himself struggling in the river.O my, how cold the water was, and O, how very wet it felt. How it sang in his ears ashe went down, down, down! How bright and welcome the sun looked as he rose to thesurface coughing and spluttering! How black was his despair when he felt himselfsinking again! Then a firm paw gripped him by the back of his neck. It was the Rat, and

he was evidently laughing- the Mole could feel him laughing, right down his arm andthrough his paw, and so into his- the Mole’sneck.The Rat got hold of a scull and shoved it under the Mole’s arm; then he did the same bythe other side of him and, swimming behind, propelled the helpless animal to shore,hauled him out, and set him down on the bank, a squashy, pulpy lump of misery.When the Rat had rubbed him down a bit, and wrung some of the wet out of him, hesaid, ‘Now, then, old fellow! Trot up and down the towing-path as hard as you can, tillyou’re warm and dry again, while I dive for the luncheon-basket.’ So the dismal Mole,wet without and ashamed within, trotted about till he was fairly dry, while the Ratplunged into the water again, recovered the boat, righted her and made her fast,fetched his floating property to shore by degrees, and finally dived successfully for theluncheon-basket and struggled to land with it.When all was ready for a start once more, the Mole, limp and dejected, took his seat inthe stern of the boat; and as they set off, he said in a low voice, broken with emotion,‘Ratty, my generous friend! I am very sorry indeed for my foolish and ungratefulconduct. My heart quite fails me when I think how I might have lost that beautifulluncheon-basket. Indeed, I have been a complete ass, and I know it. Will you overlookit this once and forgive me, and let things go on as before?’ ‘That’s all right, bless you!’responded the Rat cheerily. ‘What’s a little wet to a Water Rat? I’m more in the waterthan out of it most days. Don’t you think any more about it; and, look here! I reallythink you had better come and stop with me for a little time. It’s very plain and rough,you know- not like Toad’s house at allbut you haven’t seen that yet; still, I can makeyou comfortable. And I’ll teach you to row, and to swim, and you’ll soon be as handyon the water as any of us.’ The Mole was so touched by his kind manner of speakingthat he could find no voice to answer him; and he had to brush away a tear or two withthe back of his paw. But the Rat kindly looked in another direction, and presently theMole’s spirits revived again, and he was even able to give some straight back-talk to acouple of moorhens who were sniggering to each other about his bedraggledappearance.When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlour, and planted the Mole inan arm-chair in front of it, having, fetched down a dressing-gown and slippers for him,and told him river stories till supper-time. Very thrilling stories they were, too, to anearth-dwelling animal like Mole. Stories about weirs, and sudden floods, and leapingpike, and steamers that flung hard bottles- at least bottles were certainly flung, andfrom steamers, so presumably by them; and about herons, and how particular theywere whom they spoke to; and about adventures down drains, and night-fishings withOtter, or excursions far a-field with Badger.Supper was a most cheerful meal; but very shortly afterwards a terribly sleepy Molehad to be escorted upstairs by his considerate host, to the best bedroom, where he soonlaid his head on his pillow in great peace and contentment, knowing that his newfound friend the River was lapping the sill of his window.This day was only the first of many similar ones for the emancipated Mole, each ofthem longer and full of interest as the ripening summer moved onward.

He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water; and with hisear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind wentwhispering so constantly among them.

IITHE OPEN ROAD‘RATTY,’ said the Mole suddenly, one bright summer morning, ‘if you please, I want toask you a favour.’ The Rat was sitting on the river bank, singing a little song. He hadjust composed it himself, so he was very taken up with it, and would not pay properattention to Mole or anything else. Since early morning he had been swimming in theriver, in company with his friends the ducks. And when the ducks stood on their headssuddenly, as ducks will, he would dive down and tickle their necks, just under wheretheir chins would be if ducks had chins, till they were forced to come to the surfaceagain in a hurry, spluttering and angry and shaking their feathers at him, for it isimpossible to say quite all you feel when your head is under water.At last they implored him to go away and attend to his own affairs and leave them tomind theirs. So the Rat went away, and sat on the river bank in the sun, and made up asong about them, which he called ‘DUCKS’ DITTY.’All along the backwater, Through the rushes tall, Ducks are a-dabbling, Up tails all!Ducks’ tails, drakes’ tails, Yellow feet a-quiver, Yellow bills all out of sight Busy in theriver!Slushy green undergrowth Where the roach swimHere we keep our larder, Cool andfull and dim.Everyone for what he likes! We like to be Heads down, tails up, Dabbling free!High in the blue above Swifts whirl and call.We are down a-dabbling Up tails all! ‘I don’t know that I think so very much of thatlittle song, Rat,’ observed the Mole cautiously. He was no poet himself and didn’t carewho knew it; and he had a candid nature.‘Nor don’t the ducks neither,’ replied the Rat cheerfully. ‘They say, “Why can’t fellowsbe allowed to do what they like when they like and as they like, instead of otherfellows sitting on banks and watching them all the time and making remarks andpoetry and things about them? What nonsense it all is!” That’s what the ducks say.’ ‘Soit is, so it is,’ said the Mole, with great heartiness.‘No, it isn’t!’ cried the Rat indignantly.‘Well then, it isn’t, it isn’t,’ replied the Mole soothingly. ‘But what I wanted to ask youwas, won’t you take me to call on Mr. Toad? I’ve heard so much about him, and I do sowant to make his acquaintance.’ ‘Why, certainly,’ said the good-natured Rat, jumpingto his feet and dismissing poetry from his mind for the day. ‘Get the boat out, and we’llpaddle up there at once. It’s never the wrong time to call on Toad. Early or late he’salways the same fellow. Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorrywhen you go!’ ‘He must be a very nice animal,’ observed the Mole, as he got into theboat and took the sculls, while the Rat settled himself comfortably in the stern.‘He is indeed the best of animals,’ replied Rat. ‘So simple, so good-natured, and soaffectionate. Perhaps he’s not very clever- we can’t all be geniuses; and it may be thathe is both boastful and conceited. But he has got some great qualities, has Toady.’

Rounding a bend in the river, they came in sight of a handsome, dignified old house ofmellowed red brick, with well-kept lawns reaching down to the water’s edge.‘There’s Toad Hall,’ said the Rat; ‘and that creek on the left, where the noticeboardsays, “Private. No landing allowed,” leads to his boat-house, where we’ll leave theboat. The stables are over there to the right. That’s the banqueting-hall you’re looking atnow- very old, that is. Toad is rather rich, you know, and this is really one of the nicesthouses in these parts, though we never admit as much to Toad.’ They glided up thecreek, and the Mole shipped his sculls as they passed into the shadow of a large boathouse. Here they saw many handsome boats, slung from the crossbeams or hauled upon a slip, but none in the water; and the place had an unused and a deserted air.The Rat looked around him. ‘I understand,’ said he. ‘Boating is played out.He’s tired of it, and done with it. I wonder what new fad he has taken up now? Comealong and let’s look him up. We shall hear all about it quite soon enough.’ Theydisembarked, and strolled across the gay flower-decked lawns in search of Toad,whom they presently happened upon resting in a wicker garden-chair, with a preoccupied expression of face, and a large map spread out on his knees.‘Hooray!’ he cried, jumping up on seeing them, ‘this is splendid!’ He shook the paws ofboth of them warmly, never waiting for an introduction to the Mole.‘How kind of you!’ he went on, dancing round them. ‘I was just going to send a boatdown the river for you, Ratty, with strict orders that you were to be fetched up here atonce, whatever you were doing. I want you badly- both of you. Now what will youtake? Come inside and have something! You don’t know how lucky it is, your turningup just now!’ ‘Let’s sit quiet a bit, Toady!’ said the Rat, throwing himself into an easychair, while the Mole took another by the side of him and made some civil remarkabout Toad’s ‘delightful residence.’ ‘Finest house on the whole river,’ cried Toadboisterously. ‘Or anywhere else, for that matter,’ he could not help adding.Here the Rat nudged the Mole. Unfortunately the Toad saw him do it, and turned veryred. There was a moment’s painful silence. Then Toad burst out laughing. ‘All right,Ratty,’ he said. ‘It’s only my way, you know. And it’s not such a very bad house, is it?You know you rather like it yourself. Now, look here. Let’s be sensible. You are thevery animals I wanted. You’ve got to help me. It’s most important!’ ‘It’s about yourrowing, I suppose,’ said the Rat, with an innocent air. ‘You’re getting on fairly well,though you splash a good bi

1903 THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Kenneth Grahame Grahame, Kenneth (1859-1932) - English essayist and writer of childrens' books. He worked on the staff of the Bank of England as a Secretary.